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Who Owns the Most Bitcoin?

Dec 12, 2021
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Who Owns the Most Bitcoin?

Anyone who steps into the cryptocurrency world for the first time has plenty of questions. From cold storage wallets to mysterious origin stories, there is a lot to answer for!

But before we share opinions and speculation, we need to begin with the pure statistics of crypto as we know it today. Simply put, we need to run the numbers!

That starts with knowing how much cryptocurrency is out there – and who owns it. Now that the crypto market has breached the $3 trillion thresholds, it’s a perfect time for some accounting.

This is the exact topic of our article today, with a particular focus on Bitcoin and its ownership across the growing marketplace.

Let’s talk about how Bitcoin is distributed in terms of ownership, from pioneering tech investors to governments, financial firms, and digital mining operations.

Bitcoin Ownership

Before we zoom in on the individuals who boast the biggest Bitcoin wallets in the world, let’s look at how Bitcoin ownership shakes out on a grander scale.

What types of people and institutions own Bitcoin, how much do they hold, and why does this matter for the future of crypto at large?

Consumers and Investors

The first category of Bitcoin holders is everyday folks who simply believe in the crypto movement and see a bright future for blockchain technology in general.

Since day one, these consumer and retail investors have been on the Bitcoin bandwagon or perhaps arrived at the party a bit later (better than never).

Although some Bitcoin whales are out there, it’s nice to know that nearly 60% of this asset is distributed across 10,000 addresses. Conversely, less than 6% of Bitcoin is owned by the top 10 addresses, and less than 15% is owned by the top 100.

This suggests that Bitcoin is still largely held by normal folks looking for an alternative to fiat, and that number is growing steadily over time as adoption gains momentum.

Private Institutions

It was hard to imagine financial institutions and large private funds putting big money into an “experimental asset” like crypto ten years ago.

Of course, Bitcoin has graduated from its early phase with flying colors, and we now know what can be accomplished through a strong technological foundation and some good publicity.

With major players like Visa, JP Morgan, and plenty of smaller hedge funds getting into Bitcoin, this is a good omen for things to come and the direction of crypto in general.

Let’s not forget about exchanges like Binance, BitFinex, and Coinbase, all of which own significant stores of Bitcoin and other cryptos to protect themselves and investors.

Hoarding that much Bitcoin is a big deal, and security measures must be airtight at all times.

Governments, Organizations, and More

Governmental organizations worldwide have been dabbling in crypto for years now, a trend that shows no sign of reversing.

Some governments encountered their crypto riches incidentally, while others obtained mass amounts of Bitcoin via intervention.

For instance, the Eastern European country of Bulgaria seized more than 213,000 Bitcoins in May of 2017 after a crackdown on crime by national law enforcement agencies. Now, that stash is worth several billion dollars.

The United States has also seized a significant portion of Bitcoin through the years, beginning with the cache recovered from the Silk Road scandal in 2015.

Other governments such as Sweden, Korea, Ukraine, and more have shown to be rather bullish on Bitcoin, although we don’t know for sure how much these countries hold.

In more recent news, governments like El Salvador have made Bitcoin a legal form of currency in the country, the first important domino to fall in a long line of national adoption.

Perhaps treasuries and budgeting offices will take crypto into account before long – we’ll have to wait and see how these policies play out.

One thing is for sure: Governments and banks worldwide are fully aware of Bitcoin and other cryptos as they continue to skyrocket in value.

People With the Most Bitcoin

We’ve explored the different types of people and groups that own Bitcoin, and it encompasses pretty much everybody!

There are millions of crypto holders worldwide now, but you’re still a part of an elite crowd if you’re in the game – only a small fraction of the population.

But who are the individuals that own the most Bitcoin in the world, and what did they do to obtain these massive stores of digital gold?

Here are some of the most famous whales in the Bitcoin game and how they became Bitcoin billionaires.

Satoshi Nakamoto

More of a myth than a man at this point, the legend of Satoshi is a fitting one for Bitcoin’s monumental success.

Some say that Satoshi is hiding away somewhere, while others think he is simply a collection of various engineers and creators behind the scenes.

Regardless of our theory, the creator of Bitcoin undoubtedly has the biggest cache, with more than 1 million Bitcoin – not to mention several hundred thousand lost forever.

Chris Larsen

Larsen is a longtime Silicon Valley superstar, most famous for founding OpenCoin in 2012, later becoming Ripple Labs.

We’re not certain how much Bitcoin Larsen owns, but it’s surely in the top 1% of the world’s holding population.

Micree Zhan

As the founder of the world’s largest crypto mining computer chip company Bitmain, it makes sense that Micree Zhan has plenty of BTC in his pocket.

Zhan has a net worth of over $5 billion, with a significant portion attributed to Bitcoin.

Gavin Andresen

Having worked closely with Satoshi in the early years of Bitcoin, software developer Gavin Andresen is thought to have a substantial stack of BTC stored safely offline.

Andresen stopped working on Bitcoin back in 2016, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t holding!

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss

After settling with Facebook in a series of famous lawsuits, the Winklevoss twins earned a significant amount of Bitcoin in the process.

Since then, these gentlemen have had plenty of other smash hits, but it doesn’t hurt to have several hundred thousand Bitcoin for safekeeping.

Tracking Bitcoin Ownership Trends

There’s no denying the influence of the world’s biggest Bitcoin holders, but this crypto market is far from being too top-heavy.

Here are some trends to consider as we see Bitcoin and other digital currency assets become more popular.

Increasing Adoption

New software, new exchanges, different ways of approaching decentralized finance are just a few ways in which adoption will continue to rise in this exciting marketplace.

Institutional buying power may outpace everyday investors, but innovation always comes from where you least expect it.

Where the New Bitcoin Is Flowing

Let’s not forget the fact that Bitcoin mining is bigger than ever, and there is still plenty of Bitcoin left to mine before that magical 21 million is reached.

Now that Bitcoin miners are eager to use renewable energy and other cost-effective methods to accumulate crypto, a whole new era of Bitcoin ownership is dawning.

Bitcoin Continues To Set the Bar

The first phase of Bitcoin may be ending, and a handful of pioneers have profited handsomely with large holdings from the start.

However, a new stage of crypto is unfolding before our eyes. There are abundant opportunities for companies, governments, and everyday people to change their lives forever – with Bitcoin as the catalyst.


Who Has the Most Bitcoins? | Currency

Cryptocurrency Statistics | BitInfoCharts

5 Top Bitcoin Millionaires | Investopedia

Interested in learning more?

Download a copy of our investor presentation to learn more about Gryphon Digital Mining and our plans for the future of sustainable Bitcoin mining.